[Present Perfect] Chapter 3: Chasing the Sun

Just to get this out of the way, Boyd is wrong. One by U2 is the greatest Rock song ever recorded. Followed by Aqualung by Jethro Tull. Time by Pink Floyd isn’t even an also ran. But Time is used to great affect at the beginning of the chapter.

I’m only twenty one years old. Ten years ago the towers were still standing, I still played with Legos (granted I still do), and my brother was barely a year old. Now we have a couple of wars, no money, and I am in the baby stages of applying to seminary.

A lot can happen in ten years. My aunt and uncle divorced, another aunt passed away, and my only remaining grandparent passed away. I am going to die. This chapter made me realize just how much I refuse to remember that I am dust, and to dust I shall return.

I’ve never been too afraid of death. My motto, in regards to health at least, is what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. Reading this chapter made me think about how I tick. The things I desire are to escape death, not in the “born again” sense. I have ridiculous expectations for myself. I want to have more perseverance than Rocky, be more lucky than Han Solo, and be more legendary that Martin Luther or Gandhi. I can barely order a drink at a bar and I’m convinced I’ve messed up somewhere because I haven’t already produced something as important as the 95 theses or the “I Have a Dream” speech.

For some reason I have this idea that my life should be something of cosmic importance. I could blame a lot of things, but I’d mostly lay the blame on every person who has ever told me I’m special or important. We teach our kids that they are, more or less, Jesus. When we discover we can’t actually be Jesus, it causes a lot of problem. That is the reason I loved the exercise that put the entire universe in proportion.

Boyd was too wordy in the book. If I were him, I would have outlined the end of Men In Black. At the end, Agent J and his new buddy are ordering hot dogs as the camera pulls out to see the earth, then flies by the planets, stars, galaxies, and eventually the universe turns into a marble. This marble is only one marble in a game that a couple of aliens are playing with. That’s how I imagine how massive the universe is. Similarly, I think of the galaxy on the kitty’s collar in Men in Black to visualize how big we are in comparison.

The other exercise was lacking. The alternating of hand positions just didn’t do anything for me. The prayer however was nice. I’m not the world’s greatest at structured prayer. Most of my prayers are my thoughts in a dialogue with God. I am interested in a more structured and tactile form of prayer, so I have started looking into how to make Anglican Prayer Beads.

Trying to understand just how terrified we are about being insignificant is extremely difficult. We cant change the fact that we are dust, and to which we shall return.

Jesus not only taught, but he touched, healed and consoled those who came to him. God’s grace shouldn’t just come in and take some other thing’s vacancy. Grace breaks things down, all the way down to the shoddy foundation if need be, and builds something new. Something redeemed.

This post is part of a 7-part series on Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now by Greg Boyd. For other posts in this series, click here.


Zane Dukes is from the eternally radioactive city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is currently a senior in political science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Zane enjoys talking about the complexities of life, including and not limited to Seinfeld, Indiana Jones, and Jeff Goldblum. He likes rowing, snowboarding, Frisbee, and Nyan cat.